Participant Testimonials

Nov 14 - Nov 19, 2010

After my talk, I spoke with two colleagues about an old problem where my methods may be applicable. During the conversation, we discovered that not only were they applicable, but given the work the two had already done on the problem, my machinery was the last step they needed to solve the problem. We are currently writing a joint paper on this. This represents a wonderful new application of my machinery, a fantastic result in Schubert calculus, and a new collaboration for the three of us. This alone would have made the conference worthwhile, and it was only a smart part of it.

Sami Assaf Mathematics, MIT

... There was so much research going on between talks and in the evening that I would not be surprised if 10 papers come out in the next year from these collaborations. The common room was hopping each evening ... Thank you for the opportunity to come to BIRS.

Sara Billey Department of Mathematics, University of Washington

This was my first trip to BIRS, and I had a wonderful time. I am not an expert on quasisymmetric functions, but having the opportunity to talk with the experts in the field, I have a better idea of where they fit in with the rest of my research. I was able to ask lots of questions and left BIRS with a healthy list of problems to direct my future research. I also owe a big thanks to Brenda for helping everything run smoothly.

Andrew Crites Mathematics, University of Washington

Great meeting! Very helpful in many ways!

Jia Huang School of Mathematics, U. Minnesota

It has been a honour and a pleasure to be invited to the workshop on quasi-symmetric functions! I came from rather far (Italy), I have a special connection with Canada, since I got my Ph.D. in Montreal ... It has been a wonderful conference, in a perfect and beautiful environment: for me it is unusual to have so many people from the same area, it was really fantastic. And the organizers did a great job!

Claudia Malvenuto Computer Science, University Roma 1

The setup at BIRS is really fabulous. At a typical conference, lots of time is spent looking for somewhere good to eat, and if you're not ready to leave for a meal after the last talk, you can miss out on having good company. Not only was the food at Vistas good, but even if you had something else to take care of at the start of meal time, there were always people still around to talk to, or others similarly arriving at their convenience. I also appreciated the efficiency of the buffet style service, which freed up time to be spent on research. Mathematically, the main outcome for me was that a collaborator and I were able to spend intensive time finally pinning down a proof that was causing us difficulty when we worked on it long distance.

Peter McNamara Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics, Bucknell University

Everything was excellent and every time I have been to Banff, I have been impressed by how conducive to collaboration the facility is. At this particular workshop, I learned about an area peripheral to mine and am not very enthusiastic about working in this field. I'm sure I will work with the participants in the future.


...The talks were all very high quality, bringing me up to date with the state of the art. In such a blossoming subject it is difficult to keep up with the rapid emergence of new results, so the talks, grouped together by themes were ideal to pick up the finer details, as well as to appreciate the bigger picture. This simply isn't possible in bigger meetings where the research focus of talks and attendees is wider. In addition, without the distraction of having to find a restaurant as would be at a usual conference, the lunch breaks and evenings were perfect for seizing mathematical opportunities that had arisen earlier, or to help to wrap up research projects with coauthors from abroad. Often both,in the lounge that was always busy with participants and their conversations, which sometimes went into the night. Of the 4 excellent BIRS meetings I have had the honour of being invited to so far, this meeting ranks number 1. In addition to learning about the state of the art and sharing my latest research, I also came much closer to finishing one project, and hope to have started at least one new one, with a variety of collaborators brought together by BIRS. I am in no doubt that this meeting has accelerated my research program by many months. Thank you for inviting me to be part of this fantastic meeting!

Stephanie van Willigenburg Mathematics, University of British Columbia

This was an incredibly useful conference. Several new projects have come from my interactions at BIRS. This was my first time visiting and I thought the facilities and organization were excellent. I especially appreciated the fact that we ate all our meals in the same dining room. This led to interactions with most of the attendees rather than just the ones I already knew.

Greg Warrington Assistant Professor
Dept. of Math and Statistics, University of Vermont